By Debbie Schonenberg
Artist Idan Hayosh is in his second year of residency at the Rijksakademie, he was born in 1979, Tel-Aviv, and currently lives and works in Amsterdam. Some days before his latest work: “version RUNWAY (Lamps #21)” will go in display in the exhibition ‘Kunst in het stationsgebied’, I visit Idan and his (almost finished) work in a vacant store in Hoog Catharijne, Utrecht.
Like most of Hayosh’s works, which are huge in size, sound and light, this project is no different and even though not finished yet it is already impressive. “Version RUNWAY (Lamps #21)” is a large scale installation consisting of hundreds of stroboscope lights, tripods, and fire extinguishers. When finished the amplified sound of the flickering strobes can also be heard.
For the past few weeks, Idan and five experienced friends have been working on the installation and are now setting it up in Utrecht. Due to a lack of chairs we sit down on some large speakers standing in front of his installation, and I get the chance to ask Idan some questions.
D: The first thing that comes to mind when you see an installation this big is: do you always make such large pieces?
I: I usually do one of these pieces a year, the rest of the year I am preparing the project, for example, by collecting images that inspire me. In fact, not the constructing of the actual piece but the gathering of materials is the biggest part of the work.
Idan takes out his laptop and shows me a selection of his large collection of pictures showing battle aircrafts with their ammunition composed in a symmetrical way.
I: I think I am a pretty consistent collector of photographs. I search the internet every day looking for stuff. Every week, there are a few hundreds of images added to my archive. They could be about everything, but the common thing is that they are serial. Sometimes the images become a layout for work.
D: In the preparations for this interview I checked your Facebook page and I found countless pictures, are they examples of pictures you use for your work?
I: Sometimes. When I joined facebook, I’ve decided to show these collections of serial things in the form of a weekly facebook album. Gradually it became a consistent thing, and also some of these albums moved onto paper, and publications. Nowadays anyone can watch them on my page. Check the pictures over here
D: Was there one particular image you used for this piece?
I: Yes. This particular piece is inspired by found photographs of runway approach lights (the light formations signaling an aircraft for landing). Something in their order attracted me into compiling a collection, and then one image was used for the layout of my installation. The installation is the third “runway piece” I’ve made. Somehow I cannot stop dealing with these landing lights platforms.
D: Your work always seems to have some kind of aggressive feel to it,do you do this on purpose?
I: Both actually. Of course it’s on purpose and of course it’s not on purpose. This is just what I am into, and I just follow it. It is true that my work often is always forceful. I’m interested in these layouts that impose their effect on people. I want to create work that is inter-reactive, uncontrollable by the viewer. A determined piece of art.
D: Can you tell me a little bit more about the process of making such an installation? From idea/concept to realisation?
I: Well, first of all, the space I choose kind of dictates the nature of the piece to be made. It’s enough for me to stay in a potential space for a very short time, and then the ideas start to flow. It’s like space have their own manifests, and I just have to listen good enough. Whenever I scout a space I always bring my catalog of collected photographs, and in cases, the shape of the exhibition space fits a certain image and thus the initial volume is set. The rest is a period of time in which the content is being developed. So for example if I decide on a formation of gas containers, then I have to test how they would be displayed and what would they do (would they explode, would they make a sound of leaking, what colors, what gasses, etc.). The last stage is the production part (working most times with a producer). For this piece, I needed 80 fire extinguishers, after some contact and negotiations, the company Ajax Chubb Varel was kind enough to sponsor the piece with the equipment.
D: It seems to me that your work is not very ‘convenient’ art to sell or expose, I mean, not many galleries will be able to even fit an installation by you, let alone exhibit your work, does this affect your work?
I: The truth is I did not really hit it off with the commercial part of the art world; it is very hard to be profitable in the way I work. This installation is my first commission in the public sphere. That is really great because here I can involve everyone in my work - it is meant for the public, galleries always are a selection of the public. Works in the public sphere is something I really want to continue doing, whenever I get the chance to.
D: That sounds admirable but doesn’t this worry you for the future?
I: To me it does not feel like I have a choice really because I feel very strongly about it. My intention is to go public with this, and become an independent artist within the public domain, but it will be very hard of course. I am not good at making concessions with my art, I have a very strong feeling about how I want things done and I cannot compromise them. For example, it is problematic for me to participate in group exhibitions due to the strong physical nature of my installations. It is difficult to hang a painting near my installation and make people pay attention to the painting.
D: Do you have artists you look up to? Some idols maybe?
I really admire the work of Hans van Houwelingen (RA 84/85, PdR 87) (you might know him from the Lizard sculptures near Leidseplein in Amsterdam) and Mark Bain (RA 99/00). Both are known for their works in public space.
I am drawn to the physically more extreme projects, Mark Bain for example uses buildings as instruments, he connects oscillators to architectural structures in order to make them shake. Also I admire how they work since many of their projects seem hard to exhibit as well.
D: Finally what do you wish for the near future?
I: When I finish the Rijksakademie I plan to move to Denmark and from there be able to do one or two pieces a year.
Text by DS
“version RUNWAY (Lamps #21)” by Idan Hayosh can be seen in Utrecht until May 30th, watch a movie of the finished installation here
Find out more about Idan Hayosh here